First Writers Conference (by Tyler Whitesides)

As I became more serious about writing to publish, I kept hearing the same advice from everyone. "Go to a writers conference or event. You'll be able to network and improve your craft." Of course, I ignored this counsel for a good long while before I finally decided to buck up, pay the money and go.

It was early autumn. The conference was located in a beautiful little valley in Utah. I didn't know a soul in attendance, but I went armed with query letters, sample chapters, and my best attitude. I felt like a genuine author, walking around the resort with my laptop bag, meeting new people that shared the joy of writing.

I had reserved a time slot to pitch my manuscript to an agent. Oh how I remember that first pitch. The agent kept saying, "take a deep breath, Tyler. Just calm down and tell me about your story." Even though he decided not to represent me, I gained valuable courage and experience for the future.

I returned to that little valley just a few weeks ago to spend some family time for the holidays. I had a smile on my face as I thought about how much had happened since that first conference - I'd acquired an agent, my book was published, and I'd been on a national book tour. It was wonderful to reflect back to the beginning and see all the little decisions and experiences that led up to where I am today.

May the new year be full of new firsts for many of you!
- Tyler Whitesides (author of JANITORS)


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Tyler. And happy book touring...suweet!

  2. What a reassuring story! I bought Janitors for my nephews for the holidays and have heard great things! Congrats!

  3. Congrats on all the fabulous firsts, Tyler...Perseverance pays off!


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